Softball Cards make strides on Florida trip

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Rob Reischel
Brynn Thayer and Middleton's girls softball team played well during their trip to Florida over spring break./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They traveled roughly 2,700 miles round trip to get in some quality softball outside.

That’s what spring in Wisconsin will do to teams.

When they returned last week, Middleton felt as if it was a much-improved outfit from the one that left town.

The Cardinals played two “official” games and had two scrimmages, going 1-1 in both. And Middleton believes the experience of playing outside against live competition vs. a continuous stream of indoor practices will benefit it greatly. 

“Our goal was to get better while we were down there and we did,” Middleton manager Perry Hibner said. “You just can't simulate game-like conditions indoors. We weren't perfect down there and we didn't expect to be. But we are a better team now than we were a week ago.”

In its two official games, Middleton defeated Deerfield (Ill.), 16-0, and lost to Grayslake Central (Ill.), 14-4. In its non-official games, the Cardinals defeated Georgetown Day (Md.), 9-0, and lost to Buena Regional (N.J.), 10-1.

“The two teams we beat had played a combined three games and were each playing their first game in Florida,” Hibner said. “The two teams we lost to had already played six games in Florida and multiple games in their home states before spring break.

"Buena Regional and Grayslake Central each looked like they were in midseason form, while we looked like a team that hadn't played much. I thought we competed well, but we made some mistakes in the field and on the mound that cost us. And our hitting wasn't where it needs to be. I wish we could play them again as I'm sure they would have been better games.”

In Middleton’s win over Deerfield, Brynn Thayer and Ellie Buza combined on a two-hitter. The two also didn't walk a single batter.

“We threw a lot of strikes and got ahead of batters,” Hibner said. “I was thrilled that we didn't walk anyone. When Deerfield did put the ball in play, we made the right play. That's a winning formula. And it's no coincidence that we didn't make an error in the two games we won.”

In the first inning, Olivia Hebert had a two-run double to left-center and Lauren Horst followed with a two-run home run to left center as Middleton raced to a 5-0 lead.

Horst, who has torn the ACL in both of her knees and missed most of last season with a knee injury, reinjured her knee during tryouts this year. For now, though, Horst is fighting on.

“I was so happy for Lauren,” Hibner said. “She has had to deal with more than her fair share of adversity over the years. Her teammates just mobbed her after the home run. That was fantastic to see.”

Middleton added three more runs in the second inning as CC Hiorns' single to center scored Rachael Roberts and Katelyn Graf's two-run single to center scored both Ashley Bindl and Hebert.

The Cardinals erupted for five more runs in the third inning and pushed their lead to 13-0.

Bindl's fielder's choice scored Beth Young and Sam Williams' single to left scored Roberts. Horst later doubled to right to score both Hiorns and Bindl, then Jenna Redders had an infield single to score Williams.

Middleton tacked on three more runs in the fourth, the key blow being another RBI double by Horst. Horst finished the game with five RBI.

“Deerfield's two pitchers didn't throw particularly hard, but they did throw strikes and I was very happy to see we waited and didn’t try to pull everything,” Hibner said. “We've also had a tendency over the years to relax at the plate after a big inning early and we didn't do that in this game.”

In Middleton’s win over Georgetown, Thayer allowed just two hits, struck out three in six innings and threw just 59 pitches. Buza finished up and struck out two batters in the seventh.

“Brynn was very efficient,” Hibner said. “She is always around the strike zone and does a great job mixing up her pitches and keeping hitters off-balance.”

Middleton scored a run in the first and added another in the third to take a 2-0 lead. The Cardinals then exploded for seven runs in the fifth to break the game open.

Bindl singled to left to score Roberts, then Hebert’s RBI single plated Hiorns. Thayer's two-out single scored Bindl, then Williams, Graf and Young followed with three straight run-scoring doubles. 

“The floodgates finally opened,” Hibner said. “I think once we got a couple of runs in the inning everyone relaxed and started hitting the way we are capable of. It was nice to see.”

• On deck: Middleton was at Madison West Tuesday, hosted Madison East Wednesday, then hosts Madison Memorial Thursday at 5 p.m. The Cardinals are then at Verona next Monday at 5 p.m.



Grayslake (Ill.) Central 14, Middleton 4

Grayslake (Ill.) Central ……… 202 121 6 — 14 14 0

Middleton ……………………. 000 004 0 — 4 8 4

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): MID -- Thayer (L; 5.1-11-6-4-1), Buza (1.2-3-5-0-3).

Leading hitters: MID -- Hebert 2x3, Hiorns 2x4.


Middleton 16, Deerfield (Ill.) 0

Middleton …………… 535 3 — 16 19 0

Deerfield (Ill.) ……….. 000 0 – 0 2 1

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): Thayer (W; 3-2-0-0-0), Buza (1-0-0-1-0). 

Leading hitters: MID -- Roberts 3x3, Horst 3x4, Graf 3x4, Hiorns 2x3, Bindl 2x4. HR -- Horst. 2B -- Horst 2, Roberts, Hebert.



Buena Regional (N.J.) 10, Middleton 1

Buena Regional (N.J.) …………. 203 030 2 — 10 12 0

Middleton …………..…………… 100 000 0 — 1 4 4

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): MID -- Thayer (L; 4-7-3-1-1), Buza (3-5-5-2-4) 

Leading hitters: MID -- Roberts 2x3. 


Middleton 9, Georgetown 0

Georgetown Day ……………. 000 000 0 — 0 2 1

Middleton ……………………. 101 070 x — 9 15 0

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): MID -- Thayer (W; 6-2-0-3-0), Buza (1-0-0-2-0).

Leading hitters: MID -- Hiorns 3x3, Young 3x3, Thayer 2x3, Bindl 2x4, Hebert 2x4. 2B -- Young, Graf, Williams, Joers.



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